Bring on the Berries!

BerriesThis is a great time of year to eat berries. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are all in season now.

Berries are sweet, juicy, and delicious! They are low in calories – only 70-100 calories per cup. What other sweet delight can you enjoy that is so tasty and has so few calories? Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries have a low glycemic index which is good news, particularly for type 2 diabetics.

Blueberries are rich in fiber and vitamin K. Their vitamin C helps make collagen,the framework of our bones and skin, as well as helps make neurotransmitters in our brain which can improve cognitive function and memory. Vitamin B6 found in blueberries helps our body process protein, regulate blood sugar, and strengthens the immune system. The anthocyanin in blueberries gives them their blue pigment and helps fight free radicals that damage cells. Blueberries are also one of the healthiest foods for eye health.

Strawberries – what’s not to love! The are rich in vitamin C, help fight inflammation, and contain manganese which helps the body process sugar, cholesterol, and fat. Strawberries protect our skin against damaging ultraviolet light. I would suggest purchasing organic strawberries when possible, as conventionally grown strawberries have higher pesticide residues.

Raspberries are high in manganese which helps with wound healing, fiber needed for regular elimination, and copper which plays a role in energy metabolism and helps form red blood cells. They are also high in vitamin C. New research has shown the phytonutrients found in raspberries can increase metabolism in our fat cells and may help in weight loss.

Berries can help you meet the goal of 3-4 servings (1/2 cup) of fruit a day. When not in season, berries can be found in the freezer section at the supermarket.

It is best berries be kept in the refrigerator. They also freeze well. Just put in a zip-lock bag and freeze. Easy!

Berries are nutrient powerhouses offering antioxidant protection and anti-inflammatory benefits. Mix berries with plain yogurt, add to salads or as a topping on your breakfast cereal. A quick and simple dessert is to add a bit of balsamic vinegar and honey to berries, mix, and enjoy. Berries are also delicious in smoothies and cobblers, or just eat them plain as a snack.

Want to learn more about how to make better dietary choices that can slow down, stop, and reverse chronic diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and overweight? Enroll in the CHIP program that begins September 15th. www.CHIPhealth.com

E-mail jody.perrecone@CHIPhealth.com or call 815-975-4523 for more information. Registration deadline is September 4th.